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Revivalism works up the voltage, then makes no use of the current—the wire is grounded.
Let any one of these revivalists write out his sermons and print them in a book, and no sane man could read them without danger of paresis. The book would lack synthesis, defy analysis, puzzle the brain and paralyze the will. There would not be enough attic salt in it to save it. It would be the supernaculum of the commonplace, and prove the author to be the lobscouse of literature, the loblolly of letters.
The churches want to enroll members, and so desperate is the situation that they are willing to get them at the price of self-respect. Hence come Sunday, Monday, Tuesday and Chapman, and play Svengali to our Trilby. These gentlemen use the methods and the tricks of the auctioneer—the blandishments of the bookmaker—the sleek, smooth ways of the professional spieler. With this troupe of Christian clowns is one Chæffer, who is a specialist with children. He has meetings for boys and girls only, where he plays tricks, grimaces, tells stories and gets his little hearers laughing, and thus having found an entrance into their hearts, he suddenly
reverses the lever, and has them crying. He talks to these little innocents about sin, the wrath of God, the death of Christ, and offers them a choice between everlasting life and eternal death. To the person who knows and loves children—who has studied the gentle ways of Froebel-this excitement is vicious, concrete cruelty. Weakened vitality follows close upon overwrought nerves, and every excess has its penalty—the pendulum swings as far this way as it does that. These reverend gentlemen bray it into the ears of innocent little children that they were born in iniquity, and in sin did their mothers conceive them; that the souls of all children over nine years (why nine ?) are lost, and the only way they can hope for heaven is through a belief in a barbaric blood bamboozle, that men of intelligence have long since discarded. And all this in the name of the gentle Christ, who took little children in his arms and said, “Of such is the Kingdom of Heaven.” This pagan proposition of being born in sin is pollution to the mind of a child, and causes misery, unrest and heartache incomputable. ÇA few years ago we were congratulating
ourselves that the devil at last was dead, and that the tears of pity had put out the fires of hell, but the serpent of superstition was only slightly scotched, not killed. The intent of the religious revival is dual: first, the claim is that conversion makes men lead better lives; second, it saves their souls from endless death or everlasting hell. To make men lead beautiful lives is excellent, but the Reverend Doctor Chapman, nor any of his colleagues, nor the denominations that they represent, will for an instant admit that the fact of a man living a beautiful life will save his soul alive to In fact, Doctor Chapman, Doctor Torrey and Doctor Sunday, backed by the Reverend Doctor McIntyre, repeatedly warn their hearers of the danger of a morality that is not accompanied by a belief in the “ blood of Jesus.” So the beautiful life they talk of is the bait that covers the hook for gudgeons. You have to accept the superstition, or your beautiful life to them is a byword and a hissing. Hence, to them, superstition, and not conduct, is the vital thing. If such a belief is not fanaticism then have I
read Webster's Unabridged Dictionary in vain.
Belief in superstition makes no man kinder, gentler, more useful to himself or society. He can have all the virtues without the fetich, and he may have the fetich and all the vices beside. Morality is really not controlled at all by religion—if statistics of reform schools and prisons are to be believed. Fay Mills, according to Reverend Doctor McIntyre has all the virtues—he is forgiving, kind, gentle, modest, helpful. But Fay has abandoned the fetich—hence McIntyre and Chapman call upon the public to pray for Fay Mills. Mills had the virtues when he believed in the fetich—and now that he has disavowed the fetich, he still has the virtues, and in a degree he never before had. Even those who oppose him admit this, but still they declare that he is forever “lost.” Reverend Doctor Chæffer says there are two kinds of habits-good and bad. There are also two kinds of religion, good and bad of The religion of kindness, good cheer, helpfulness and useful effort is good. And on this point there is no dispute-it is admitted everywhere by every grade of intellect. Bu
any form of religion that incorporates a belief in miracles and other barbaric superstitions, as a necessity to salvation, is not only bad, but very bad ast And all men, if left alone long enough to think, know that salvation depends upon redemption from a belief in miracles.
But the intent of Doctor Chapman and his theological rough riders is to stampede the herd and set it a milling. To rope the mavericks and place upon them the McIntyre brand is then quite easy. As for the reaction and the cleaning up after the carnival, our revivalists are not concerned. The confetti, collapsed balloons and peanut shucks are the net assets of the revival-and these are left for the local managers. Revivals are for the revivalists, and some fine morning these revival towns will arise, rub their sleepy eyes, and Chapman will be but a bad taste in the mouth, and Sunday, Chæffer, Torrey, Biederwolf and Company, a troubled dream to To preach hagiology to civilized people is a lapse that Nemesis will not overlook.
C America stands for the Twentieth Century, and if in a moment of weakness she slips back to the exuberant folly of the frenzied piety of